Lynn Johnston has seen fit to address the primary
concerns of the Coffee Talk readers with respect to the relationship between Elizabeth and Anthony. Naturally I see fit to address her address.A note from Lynn...
Ok, folks! Time to address a few of your concerns!
You're absolutely right. Elizabeth should have gone to visit her grandfather when she picked April up from his apartment. Trouble is...I have a limited time left here and every strip, now, is a statement that leads to the August 30th conclusion!! If I had sent her to visit gramps, it would have required perhaps 3 strips total to resolve interaction between them: the wedding, her work, his health, the dress and so on. Everything has a repercussion. - I have less than 30 seconds a day to lead you through the labyrinth of these characters' lives. So. I hoped you would suppose she did visit and was just unable to see him at this time! I was wrong. It was an omission! I'm grateful for those who read between the lines and know that there is something going on in everyone's life, and I can't show it all!
In this paragraph, Lynn Johnston introduces her theme, which is essentially, "I have limited time" and the time she lists is "30 seconds, once a day." I suppose this means she has timed how long it takes to read her strip. But to analyze it!? I say "Nay!" I take far more time than 30 seconds. It's interesting that she interprets the comic strip in terms of time. Really what she has is 3 panels of plot and 1 panel of punch line. I would think of it more in terms of "I have 4 pictures to advance a plot." It is also interesting that she is calling the conclusion for August 30th, when in the Cartoon Closet article
, she said September 29. However, as I have pointed out before, Lynn Johnston has a hard time setting exact final dates for her strip.
Her explanation that she has to have 3 strips to show the interaction between Liz and Grandpa Jim does not hold water with me. Lynn is a creature of repetition. Back in January, the last time April visited Grandpa Jim, the sequence was almost exactly the same. April visits, tea is drunk, she plays for a going-to-sleep Grandpa Jim, then John picks her up and asks how Grandpa Jim is. What you have is the virtually same story except it's Elizabeth instead of John. And back in January, people complained that John didn't go up and visit either.
To be honest, Lynn packed a lot into last week. There were only 3 strips with Grandpa Jim and April, whereas back in January
it took 6 days to do the same thing. The most frustrating part is that Lynn states in her excuse a plotline that would be far better than 3 strips of April doing her same old thing, i.e. Elizabeth is visiting her Grandpa Jim and they discuss "the wedding, her work, his health, the dress and so on." There's the better story. There's one which will push the wedding plotline forward and will actually show the Elizabeth / Jim interaction crucial for the reader to understand that Elizabeth actually does like, does visit and care about Jim. Moreover, it will show why it is important for Elizabeth to set a date for her wedding to include Jim. Lynn spells out this plot in her excuse, but for some reason doesn't seem to recognize it is the superiour story. She is so caught up in doing "April plays the guitar for Jim" again and again and again. For those of you who oppose Anthony as a marriage partner for Liz. Please consider the fact that he has been closely tied to her family all the while she's been away at school and up north. John and Elly invested in, buy their cars from and constantly connect with Gordon Mayes who owns a successful automotive complex with Anthony now as manager of the repairs and maintainance division. Both Elly and John regard Anthony highly and ultimately, this bodes well for Elizabeth's future with him. She respects her parents' opinions. She knows his family, his past, his friends and his personality. His appearance as a successful single parent also says a lot about his ability to commit to and sustain a lasting relationship.l I haven't gone into a lot of kissing, embracing, "I love you dialogue" for fear of making you jump on me for being too saccharine!! I should have turned on the treacle!! Trust me, she does love him and she's confident enough in her choice, and he with her, that their relationship is easy. They simply know they're making the right choice and display their serious, physical affection privately!!
Anthony is the manager of the repairs and maintainance division? I had to go back and look, but there it is
: Back in 2006, Anthony was put in charge of the garage, the store and the restaurant, according to John. In the paragraph, Lynn Johnston addresses the reason why Anthony is a good marriage partner for Liz
1. John and Elly like him. About this, I completely agree. After all, John and Elly pushed Anthony on Elizabeth when he was engaged, married, and with a child -- times when most other people might be looking for someone else for their daughter. The interesting part is that Lynn points out the reason for Anthony's success is directly dependent on Gordon Mayes. Gordon Mayes is even more successful than Anthony, and was also married and had a child. Presumably, the Pattersons also regard him highly. Unlike Anthony though, they did not push Elizabeth on Gordon for a marriage partner. Elizabeth may respect her parents' opinions; but I find them morally suspect.
2. She knows his family, his past, his friends and his personality. I can agree with all that except for the family part. Honestly, there should have been at least one strip where Anthony and Elizabeth visit with Anthony's family after they got engaged. However, it is nice to know that Anthony still has a family, and maybe someday we will get to meet them.
3. Good single parent = Good marriage partner. In other words, if your kid likes you, you must be great marriage material. I have 2 responses to this: Bunk beds for 3-year-olds. "I have no home!"
Sorry, Lynn. A great kid is not the sign of a good husband. And really, of all people, you should know this.
The last part is Lynn's explanation for no love between Anthony and Elizabeth: Fear of the reader. Where was that fear when she showed Elizabeth with Paul, Warren, Eric and even Mason the best man? Despite Lynn's comment, I think she went "treacle"-less, in order to draw a contrast between those relationships and the one with Anthony. Lynn's statement that Elizabeth and Anthony display their physical affection privately is accompanied by a "Yes!" from me. I knew that's what she meant with the "Let's go home"
strip and the "Check!"
strips.The problem with a visual art like this is that it's static. If these people were on a screen, moving and alive, the subtle exchanges, eye contact, expressions, teasing and so on would be charming and endearing. In film, you can avoid saccharine in the way the actors behave. In a comic, static image, all you see is the kiss. Is that too corny? Is what they say too boringly trite? How do you draw the subtleties required to make the reader feel these sweet, subtle emotions without saying- "what crap!"??? I dunno!!! I draw well- but not THAT well!! If I was producing a comic novel, I'd have the luxury of time and multiple kissing images in which to convey an exchange like this... Again, I have less than 30 seconds, once a day. So...I've given you more of their friendship and less of their physicality. A regrettable omission!!
This next paragraph is essentially an admission by Lynn that she doesn't draw very well. However, she defends herself by comparing it to a movie with lots of images, or a comic novel (graphic novel, Lynn). Suffice to say, anyone reading a Sergio Aragonés margin drawing in Mad Magazine can tell you that is possible to tell a lot of story with a few figures. There is no use arguing this point. Lynn says she doesn't draw well enough to convey subtle emotions and I have seen enough of her art to believe it. If you can't even put eyes straight on a character's head, how are you possibly going to convey emotions with your drawing? If Lynn wasn't about to retire I would suggest she check out Will Eisner's great book Comics and Sequential Art
, which would tell her exactly how to communicate love between characters without them even laying one kiss on each other.For those who say these young people have all ended up with people they've known since elementary school... and this is unusual: You're right! These days, we are all going well away from our families and meeting culturally diverse and exciting new people. That's real life. I'm sorta in a wierd fantasy capsule. Already I have more characters than most strips can manage. Adding new people is difficult, but a challenge I enjoy.
This next paragraph is a mass of contradictions. Real life is new people. I already have too many characters. But I enjoy adding new ones.Every NEW character requires a series of portraits and a personal profile. They need a consistent "look" and personality, a place to live, a car to drive and a "style" unique to them. In order to accept the new character, the reader needs time (at 30 seconds a day) So, when it comes to a lifetime committment, it's easier for all of us to get a handle on and get inside consistent "actors"- people we've known for awhile and know something about- than it is to try and make a serious attachment to someone new! Both Paul and Warren were new...and though they were attractive and fun...what did you REALLY know about them? Not much...until Beth started to fill us all in!! That goes for ME, too. Beth's stories do what I could never do...( in 30 seconds, once a day!!)
This paragraph seems to say that she chose Anthony Caine as Elizabeth's husband because the readers know more about him than Warren and Paul. In many respects, this seems like a wise choice. I have certainly read a lot of comments that went along the lines of "I always hoped Elizabeth would end up with Anthony." Then she compliments Beth on filling in Warren's life story, probably because she realizes that, thanks to Beth's story in the Who's Who on the website, we now know more about Warren Blackwood than Anthony Caine. Thus, the basic premise of her argument is defeated. However, to be fair, let me compare Anthony Caine to Paul Wright.
a. Why did Paul Wright choose his job? To be a service to his people.
b. Why did Anthony Caine choose his job? It's the same job he had working summers in university. Gordon Mayes offered for him to keep it after graduation.
a. Did Paul Wright want to take Elizabeth to meet his parents? Yes
b. Did Anthony Caine want to take Elizabeth to meet his parents? Who knows.
a. What is the background of Paul Wright's parents? Father - Irish. Mother - Ojibway. Live in White River.
b. What is the background of Anthony Caine's parents? Father owns a business and has threw a New Years' Eve party in 2002. He also used to employ Therese Caine. Mother. Who knows? Live in Milborough.
a. Has Paul Wright ever done anything despicable? He cheated on Elizabeth with Susan Dokis, misled her into thinking he had his transfer to Toronto, and did not break up with her until she confronted him with it.
b. Has Anthony Caine ever done anything despicable? He married Therese when he was still carrying a torch for Elizabeth, humiliated Therese by throwing himself at Elizabeth in public outings, convinced Therese to have a baby and then complained to everyone he knew about Therese's lack of parenting, ignored Therese's post-partum depression, tried to convince Elizabeth to wait for him to end his marriage when his baby was just 5 months old right after Elizabeth was almost raped.
I guess I know Anthony Caine slightly more than Paul Wright; but that does not work in Anthony Caine's favour.So, I hope that sheds some light on the writing and development process I use. That's not to say that every one of your opinions doesn't register or have great merit! You're ALL right and I appreciate your input and your discussions! Believe it or not, I do read what you say on Coffee Talk and it consistently amazes me to know how involved you are in the lives of these imaginary characters!!
I definitely believe she reads the Coffee Talk. We have seen so many retcons in the last year addressing Coffee Talk issues, it would be difficult to believe otherwise.When the story is told, you'll be able to imagine what happens next. The great pleasure for ME will be in the retelling...because I'm going to add to and improve this saga...and that's a luxury few artists have!!
I believe this is a reference back to the idea that Lynn will be adding and touching up old strips, once she starts the chronological reprints.Thankyou for writing and for reading my work. Sincerely, Lynn J.
You are welcome.